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Mayor Megan Barry, In Partnership with 100 Resilient Cities, Appoints Erik Cole as Nashville’s First Chief Resilience Officer

June 29, 2017

CRO will lead efforts to prepare Nashville for economic and environmental shocks and stresses within the newly established Office of Resilience; will address resilience challenges of transportation and infrastructure, city equity.

Erik Cole

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has appointed Erik Cole as Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) in the new Office of Resilience. The new position and office were created to lead city-wide efforts to help Nashville prepare for, withstand, and bounce back from the ‘shocks’ – catastrophic events like floods, tornadoes, and fires – and ‘stresses’ – slow-moving disasters like unemployment, affordable housing, and poverty and inequality – that are increasingly part of 21st century life.

“I am pleased to announce the creation of the Mayor’s Office of Resilience and the appointment of Erik Cole to serve as Nashville’s first Chief Resilience Officer,” said Mayor Barry. “The Office of Resilience will lead efforts to help Nashville plan for and deal with natural catastrophes and slow-moving threats – like affordable housing, transportation and infrastructure, environmental issues, and racial and economic equity.”

Cole, a former Metro Councilmember and veteran of Metro government, has served as the Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity and Empowerment (OEOE) since October 2015. The creation of the Office of Resilience will result in a restructuring of the Mayor’s Office, with OEOE staff members Anne Havard and John Murphy joining the Office of Resilience. Havard will serve as Deputy CRO and Murphy will be Senior Advisor for Economic Inclusion.

“I’m honored to take on the role of Nashville’s first Chief Resilience Officer,” said Cole. “Strengthening our urban resilience means building economic opportunity and inclusion into every part of city government’s work. As we develop and implement Nashville’s Resilience Strategy, we will be better able to prepare for, withstand, and bounce back from current and future challenges.”

Appointing a CRO is an essential element of Nashville’s resilience building partnership with 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation. The 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) network is part of a $164M commitment by The Rockefeller Foundation to build urban resilience in 100 cities around the world. Nashville’s engagement with 100 Resilient Cities kicked off in March with a “Resilience Agenda-Setting Workshop,” and under Cole’s leadership, the city is poised to take the next step in its resilience planning. The position will be funded by 100RC.

“Erik Cole joins a network of peers from cities across the globe that will share best practices and surface innovative thinking,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities. “Erik will become a global leader in resilience and will be an asset for Nashville and other cities around the world.”

The Mayor's Office of Housing will be established to continue ongoing efforts to fund, build, preserve, and retain affordable and workforce housing in Nashville. This office will consist of Adriane Bond Harris, who will serve as Director, and Morgan Mansa, the Executive Director for the Barnes Fund. Ashford Hughes, the Mayor’s Senior Advisor for Workforce, Diversity and Inclusion, will join the Office of Economic and Community Development to focus on equity, inclusion, and community benefits in our efforts to recruit, retain, and grow small and large businesses in Nashville.

In addition, the Office of Communications will be created and led by Sean Braisted as director, with Michael Cass continuing as the Mayor’s speechwriter and communications advisor, and Chris Weidel serving as the social media manager. The Office of Infrastructure, Transportation and Sustainability will become the Office of Transportation and Sustainability and continue to be led by Erin Hafkenschiel as Director and Mary Beth Ikard as Manager.

“Our commitment to expanding economic opportunity and promoting financial empowerment will be strengthened by this restructuring and the creation of the Office of Resilience,” said Mayor Barry. “We greatly appreciate the generous resources and support offered by 100 Resilient Cities and The Rockefeller Foundation that will help our city take concrete actions to address the physical and socio-economic shocks and stresses we face.”